Reasserting the fact that social media has become a key part of information delivery process and how we view reality, social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter became the primary source of information on two distinct world events on Monday and Tuesday. While U.S. President Barack Obama put up a preview to his much anticipated State of the Union address on the popular video sharing website YouTube, eyewitnesses of the suicide bombing at the Moscow airport posted updates and uploaded footage of the blasts online.
Obama's second State of the Union address is scheduled for Tuesday night. Amid high anticipation, the president decided to put up a preview of his speech on the internet, citing because you guys [YouTubers, social media users, etc.] have been there from the start, because it was your passion and vision that helped get me to the White House, I just wanted to give you a little bit of a preview of what I'm going to be saying.
Barack Obama, who used social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter even back in 2008 while campaigning for elections, has come to be appreciated among the technocrats as the pioneer in utilizing social media for politics.
The White House also announced earlier that after the State of the Union Address, Obama and senior administration officials will hold a series of live online events. The authorities aim to answer questions from the general public via social media. People can post questions on Twitter with hashtag #sotu) as well as on the official Facebook page of White House. The President and his men can also be reached through the web platform on whitehouse.gov. Obama will also answer people's questions on a live Youtube interview on Thursday starting 2:30 p.m. EST.
Meanwhile, YouTube also bustled with visitors looking to find more information on the ghastly Moscow blasts. Social Times reported, one video in particular has been circulating, with coverage on Russia Today, CNN, and other news sources, and more YouTube videos are continuing to pop up.
The amateur footage of the attack site just minutes after the blast shows dust filling the air following the explosion. While one video just showing the outside of the Domodedovo Airport emerged, Russia Today also continues to update its YouTube channel with fresh videos.
Reports and individual accounts suggest that the microblogging site Twitter became the primary source of information following the bombing. Local television channels reportedly began broadcasting the news two hours after the blasts. Twitter not only delivered updates on the happenings at the Domodedovo Airport but also brought in the communication of official sources, such as the announcement that the fare would be waived for the train from the Domodedovo airport to Moscow. Dmitry Medvedev, the president of Russia and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are both active on Twitter.
Social media is quickly transforming the way news is being delivered and consumed. Access to internet now turns everyone into a citizen journalist. Adding to this is the fact that the people are as receptive as ever provided that they get the latest update on an event or concern. On the flipside, authorities and even celebrities have also begun making use of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to avoid encounters with reporters by devulging the details of the latest themselves.